Somewhat serendipitously Occupy Wall Street kicked off its new campaign last weekend - a few days before the eviction -- called Occupy Your Block which declared:
The Occupy movement is more than a physical occupation. This movement is in each one of us; in our will and determination. It is in our local community organizations, religious groups, schools, and neighborhoods.
Occupy Your Block seeks to partner with and support community organizations and individuals in solidarity with the Occupy movement, in holding a variety of events and actions, including (but certainly not limited to) teach-ins, Occupy Your Block parties, potluck dinners, community clean-ups, 99% art shows, or passing resolutions of support for the movement.
On Saturday of its opening weekend, Occupy Your Block began in my home of Jersey City at Mary Benson Park with five kids, two adults and one snake sighting. Gabby Creery, a Jersey City Independent columnist, and I -- along with Gabby's four children and one of their friends -- spent an hour cleaning up a park. In the interests of full disclosure I must admit: Once I spotted a garden snake in the spot we had been cleaning, we quickly moved to the swing set and baseball field. The kids had already migrated over there and when we reported to them my sighting, they made sure to ask, of course, if it was poisonous. A bloody knee relieved one kid from duty and he was sent home. We joined him shortly, walking back to Gabby's, each carrying a garbage bag.
Once at Gabby's, she and I sat and talked and brainstormed about what more we could do in Jersey City for the Occupy movement.
As I walked home, just a few blocks away, I couldn't help but think about what a success it had been. Yes, it was Gabby, her family and myself. No, there hadn't been 50 people who showed up, along with a few reporters. But that's the brilliance of Occupy Your Block. It shows the diversity of the occupation and of the forms of resistance. Take these Occupy Your Block actions, listed in the Occupy Your Block press release:
Lola Katan, a junior at Beacon High School, planned a teach-in to be held in her school library to discuss how the economic and political situation affects their future. A man from Far Rockaway hung a sign in his window, talked to a few friends, and was surprised when fifteen neighbors showed up to organize a General Assembly.... A lone woman walked out to her park and wrote "I am the 99%" on the concrete with chalk.
These are all actions of the Occupy movement. For me, the movement is as much camping out at Liberty Park as it is a seven person park clean-up, a teach-in, a flier in the window of a home, a general strike, an information table at a street fair, an act of civil disobedience, a march, a concert. It is as much Liberty Park as it is St. Louis, Missouri as it is Highland Park, New Jersey as it is Lawrence, Kansas. The Occupy movement began in Liberty Park but it doesn't end there.
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